A company that made unsubstantiated claims about its water filters sold about $12 million worth of units, the Commerce Commission says.
HRV was on Friday fined $440,000 after pleading guilty to making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of its water filters, and for making misleading claims about the quality of New Zealand's home water supply.
The charges were laid by the Commerce Commission, which raised its eyebrows after the company advertised a magnetic "ionizer" in its water filter systems that it said would soften water and result in benefits like improved skin.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings said the company made representations about water quality, the ability of the filters to soften water, and the corresponding need for consumers to buy filters.
"There were around 4300 units that were sold and the price of each water filter was $2795, so they were a reasonably expensive product," she said.
"They did perform some water filtering tasks but just didn't live up to the other qualities that were claimed in relation to the degradation of water quality supply in particular."
Between July 2014 and October 2017, HRV claimed on its website that using the water filters could reduce skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
The company admitted that the information available to it did not provide reasonable grounds for the claims about the performance of its water filters.
HRV also made misleading representations about the quality of home water supplies, and the need for consumers to buy a water filter to address this.
That wrongly created the impression that water being supplied to people's homes carried health risks if it wasn't treated.
HRV declined to be interviewed but in a statement, said it accepted the Commerce Commission's findings and the fine handed down by the court.
The company said following the commission's original request for information, it took steps to address their concerns and removed any inaccurate information.
HRV also put in place additional processes to ensure tighter controls over marketing material in the future.